It’s National Coming Out Day, the annual event where LGBT people and their allies come out for the first, 10th or umpteenth time to proclaim who they are and their call for equality under law and in society for everyone.
Personal note: The editor is proudly queer and proudly out — but she is not proud of this unjust, mendacious nation, which, contrary to its founding documents that proclaim the equality of all, does not treat its citizens equally. The situation, however, little by little, is improving…
“For twenty years, the GLBT community has been coming out and putting an ever-more personal face to issues in our lives, and that is clearly changing hearts and minds,” said Mark Shields, director of the HRC Coming Out Project. “Americans have come to know their GLBT friends and family in a new way in the last 20 years, and those relationships have changed the cultural landscape.”
— Visibility: The findings also indicate a sharp increase over the past two decades in the number of Americans who say they personally know or work with someone who identifies as gay or lesbian: 72 percent today, according to Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc. In 1987, just 11 percent reported to ABC News and the Washington Post that they associated with a “male homosexual” on a regular basis.
— Relationship Recognition: Today, 60 percent of Americans support same-sex marriages or civil unions, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll. Twenty years ago only 12 percent of Americans agreed that “homosexual couples” should have the right to marry, according to the National Opinion Research Center.
— Military Service: A University of New Hampshire survey showed that four out of five (79 percent) Americans believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to openly serve their country in the military–which is currently prohibited under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. In 1993, NBC and the Wall Street Journal found that just 40 percent felt that gays and lesbians should serve openly in the military.
Do your part for equality. Whatever your orientation, come out today for justice and honesty in the US and in the world.